Episode 65: Easy Exercise Motivation, Part V
How can we get ourselves moving when we are committed couch potatoes? In today’s episode, learn what laziness really is, and be guided through a step-by-step approach to getting yourself moving and loving it.
This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com
Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host, Renee Stephens and together we’re accessing and adjusting the control panel of your mind-body system. Bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey and fullness to the rest of your life. On today’s show, overcoming laziness. And a step-by-step approach to go from couch potato to exercise lover.
A special welcome to new listeners to the show. We’re so delighted that you found us. There’s a thriving community built around living the principles of Inside Out Weight Loss and the Renee method. You might take a moment to set your intent, to get what you’re hoping to get here. Intent setting is a powerful way to program your subconscious mind to get what you want. Jump right into today’s episode and I also encourage you to go back to the beginning and start there by listening to the prologue where you’ll hear my personal story. Then progress to the critical foundational steps presented in the early episodes. Take your time to digest each episode, each concept, each tool. In the Inside Out Weight Loss community there’s a Yahoo group, a blog and, very soon, live naturally slender group tele-coaching. As well as a smaller support forum for tele-coaching support members.
Let’s go ahead and center ourselves, by dropping inside and becoming present with you. As I share a moment of bliss courtesy of blisstrips.com
Deep inside, there’s a mantra. A little saying that means something to you. A phrase that helps you get through the day. That gives you grace. That sets you free. Perhaps it’s simple like “smile” or “dream”. Maybe it’s a prayer your mother used to say. It’s something meaningful in the here and now. Let the words bubble up from below. See them painted across the canvas of your mind. Hear them float through the air. Imagine them tattooed under your skin in magic ink that only you can see. Think about writing them down and pasting them to a mirror or window. Let them wash over you again and again, giving what you need most right now.
A couple of my favourite words are “connect” and “renew”. By now, you know that I find the deepest and greatest transformation comes when we connect with something much greater than ourselves. An infinitely renewable resource that expands us beyond our human boundaries. That renews us. Revitalizes us. Heals. “Ask and you shall receive,” is so true. Feel the renewal as you ask now for the transformation that you desire.
I’ve spoke before about how we have to be careful what we intend because we’re very likely to get it. And I think I’d like to update that with my latest thinking. Which is that we must also have a sense of humor about what we intend because we may get it in ways that really surprise us. And I think our job, as human beings with free will, is to make the very most out of whatever it is that life hands. So, for example, if life hands us a weight struggle we make the most of it. How? By using it as a springboard for transformation. By using it as a doorway to greater compassion and empathy with others. By using it as a way to learn what we will someday teach. It’s time to open our awareness and our hearts to the presence of fellow journeyers listening to the show. And indeed those who are not.
Here’s a message from a listener who emailed me. She writes:
I wanted to first let you know how much you helped me and I’m only on Episode Five. First, I love the guided visualization in Episode Three. I plan to do it daily until I reach my goals.
Second, at first I had some trouble with finding what part of me objected to being thin. When you mentioned this in the first couple of episodes I couldn’t imagine why any part of me would object to something I wanted so badly. When I got to Episode Four, however, I was in for a shock.
When I finally had to think about any objections a few realisations hit
me hard. I go so far as to call it an epiphany. I won’t go into
what these revelations were but I started to cry and it was so
painful. I’m not a person who cries. It’s been years. I can’t believe
I’ve never realized all this before. Thank you so much . I still have to deal
with the issues but this is the first time that I really feel hope
that I will accomplish my goals. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And I would like to gently encourage that listener to share what her revelations were about herself. Share with a trusted friend or relative. Or share on the Yahoo group. Because there’s great healing and connection available to us when we do share some of the parts of us that can sometimes seem embarrassing. But really often those parts are what make us human. And what make other people able to relate to us. And even feel that they’re not alone.
That’s why the Inside Out Weight Loss Yahoo group exists, in fact. This free forum run by listeners is all about supporting and being supporting. And tapping into the power of collective intent. What the heck do I mean by that? I mean that when two or more people gather with the same goal, the same intent, somehow there’s some kind of geometric enhancing effect that happens, supporting and propelling each member of the group further than they would go alone. The world’s religious traditions know this. That’s why church services, religious services are in community. That’s why people come together to worship. People come together to meditate. Because of this power of connection. And I know it’s the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling bad about yourself. But maybe, just maybe, it’s the best thing you could do.
Last episode we talked about guilt-driven exercisers. We talked about the over-the-topees who exercise like crazy. And we even talked about those people who are guilt-driven when they get around to exercising. It’s all out of a sense of punishing themselves or doing it to atone for sins committed or to be committed. We talked about how that type of motivation can make your workouts less effective and even lead to injury, as you’re not tuning in to the needs and signals of your body. Don’t get me wrong. Exercise is a great thing no matter how you get yourself to do it. And perhaps you could get even more out of it if you come to it from a place, a desire, an intent to take fabulous care of your body. How would you get to that place that might seem so far off, it might seem like the other side of the globe from where you’ve been? I know it was that way for me. How could I get to a place where I wanted to take great care of my body? From a place where I wanted to nurture my body? From a place where I’m disgusted with my body?
My sister-in-law wrote me the other day and asked me about my niece who is going through puberty and not so happy with a little more softness on her body right now. And she asked me what I thought she should do. And I said the most important thing, really, is to encourage her to love and honor her amazing changing body. And then I thought, “Well, gosh. What would I say to her if I could?” And I think that what I would say is that imagine your body is like a sweet little kitten. And you have to pay very close attention to that kitten to make sure you give it exactly what it needs. Because the kitten can’t talk. The kitten can only meow. And so you have to really tune in to all the signals that this little adorable soft kitten gives. So that you can give it the right amount of food. So that you can give it the right amount of love and affection and exercise. So if you pretend that your body is like this little kitten that’s changing and growing then you can tune into that body. Pay attention and give it the things that will nurture and allow it to grow. So if I had an opportunity to talk to her, which in fact I very may well, I would say, “Imagine your body is like that little, sweet kitten that you love so much and want to take great care of.”
Does this sound familiar? Does it sound corny? Cheesy? Cliched? Yep. All that’s true. But you know what? Clichés, corniness exist for a reason. It also might sound familiar because we talked about very similar stuff in the series on unconditional self-acceptance. And guess what? Exercise motivation comes from that same base. That same foundation of unconditional self-acceptance. Because, in my experience, there’s no point adding fancy diets, fancy exercise programs until you’ve come to that place. Until you have that foundation of self-acceptance and wanting to take great care of your body. Otherwise, any changes in behavior that you make will be willpower-based and will not last. They will be short-lived.
On the other hand, if you come to a place of taking great care of yourself, of truly desiring that, then those behavior changes will take immediately to the fertile soil that you created of this self-acceptance. And sprout roots and grow tall and strong.
It’s time for us to take a break now to support our sponsors. This is Renee Stephens and you’re listening to Inside Out Weight Loss on PersonalLifeMedia.com.
We’re back now. I’d like to talk to you about laziness. This is a topic that we began to explore in the last episode and I have always had a heck of a hard time with the word “laziness”. And the interesting thing is so many people that I talk to, even people who are fit and compassionate and empathetic, they’ll say, “Yeah, but you know, aren’t some of those couch potatoes, aren’t I just plain old lazy? Isn’t that just the way I was born? Or the way I am?” And for the longest time I'm just like, “No, no. That’s not it” without being able to articulate what bugs me about the term “laziness”.
So let’s take a minute and look at what laziness is. And as I think about it, laziness is really to me, one of two things. It’s either an inner conflict. You know how we talked about “stuckness” in an earlier episode being really a lot of action going in directly opposite directions of each other? So a lot of activity yields nothing? Well, laziness is kind of the same thing.
In my experience, laziness is either inner conflict. In other words, part of us really wants something and another part of us doesn’t and we get into this stalemate where bugger all happens. Or it’s a feeling of inefficacy. In other words, it’s a feeling like the investment that I’m going to put into this, say workout, the amount of effort that it will take me to get my butt in gear and start moving, is greater than the returns. When you’re lying on the sofa watching your favourite show or whatever it is, you think, “Oh my God. It seems monumental to get up, get my gear on, go to the gym” and do whatever it is that you have in mind to do. It seems like that’s such a huge investment and the returns seem far off, distant and small. And so what happens? A whole lot of nothing.
To the casual observer it looks like you just sit there and do absolutely nothing. Or do lots of things other than exercise. Yet underneath the surface, this whole assessment process has gone on in your subconscious mind. Maybe even consciously. How do you change this situation if you have this feeling of inefficacy or it’s not worth the investment I’m going to make in it? Well, one way that may come to mind to you now, that you may automatically think of is, well gosh. You have to think of the investment as small, the effort involved as small, and the reward as big.
How do you make the reward seem big? Well, one way that we make it seem small is by thinking about the reward that’s way far in the future. “Ah...when I’m slim and toned and fit.” Well that may seem like a long way from right here and right now. That may seem like months or a year away. So that isn’t very motivating, is it? Especially when the effort required is right here and now. So we’ve got to think about a reward, a benefit, that’s much closer and much bigger.
I’m pretty sure I told you guys about my experience working with groups, where I ask the group who’s a good exerciser, who enjoys it, and who doesn’t. And the people who don’t talk always talk about all the negative things the sweatiness and the hassle factor and all those things. And the people who love exercise always talk about how great they feel afterwards. Ahhh. How great they feel afterwards. Well, when I think about my own motivation for exercise, I think, “I certainly do focus about that.” That’s what gets me through a session on the elliptical, which is not a lot of fun to me. I wish I were more evolved and did something that I enjoyed more in the process but some days it’s just what’s got to happen if I’m going to get a workout in. So I think about I got to get on there because when I’m done, I’m going to feel great. I’m going to feel like I accomplished something. And I’m going to feel terrific the rest of the day or the evening. And so I make it big and bright and close and colourful and beautiful. The great feeling that I’ll have when I’m done.
Now we have to break down the big effort that it appears to be to get exercising. In my case, in this example, to get on the darn elliptical machine. And when I think, sometimes I’m in bed and I’ve just gotten the kids off to school, and I think, “Oh my gosh! It’s so much to get into the work out gear and to get up there and get the water and what am I going to read and do I have a podcast ready to listen to” and all those things. And so I break it down. I put my workout togs on right away. I think, “If I can just get the workout gear on my body, that I can handle. I can handle putting the gear on.” And then I think, “Well, if I can just get my bottle of water.” I can handle getting my bottle of water. And then I think, “Well, let me just go to the machine.” Yeah, I can handle that. And then I sometimes, if it’s really bad, I make a deal with myself. And I say, “You know what? If you do this for ten minutes and at the end of ten minutes you still feel like crap, you still feel sluggish and like you don’t want to be there then stop. Then just get off. Ten minutes. All I’m asking.”
So I get on and I get my iPod sorted out and my reading material ready to go and I just start. And most of the time, the vast majority of time, 99.9% of the time, ten minutes leads to twenty leads to thirty and so on. Sometimes however, I have stopped at ten minutes. If I really, really don’t feel it at ten minutes, even when the blood is flowing, I will let myself stop. Why is it important to do this? Why is it important to let yourself get off? It’s important to give yourself credibility so that when you tell yourself, “Well If I feel like I need to stop at ten minutes, I will” that you believe it. Your subconscious mind believes it.
So let’s take a moment now and I want you to think about a workout that you’d like to do. Whatever it is. The things you usually do or would like to do. Maybe it’s simply going for a walk around the block. Maybe it’s a walk in nature. Maybe it’s run. Maybe it’s attending an exercise class or a dance class. Maybe it’s doing the weights or the machine. Whatever it is that you think about. Doing a DVD.
So the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to think about what it takes to get ready for that workout, to actually get you moving. And what I want you to do is think about the whole of it, everything that it takes, and now you’re going to take that whole and you’re going to divide it in little pieces. Each piece is a step. You’re going to imagine taking that whole and dividing it into little pieces. And those pieces you’re going to simply lay out in front of you as steps, stepping-stones. One step, set up the...schedule the time in your calendar, for example. Move the coffee table out of the living room. Whatever it is. That’s step one. And you see that as a easy baby step, a little stepping-stone in front of you. And you think, “Yeah. I can do that.” You’ll know that your step is small enough when you hear yourself say, “I can do that. Yeah. I can do that.”
So you move the coffee table, you make an appointment with your friend to go for a walk, whatever it is, and you see that as one little step. Then, when you get to that step, then you place another little step. You could even see them as beautiful gentle stepping-stones leading on a path out in front of you. Noticing that you can completely forget about the subsequent steps. All you have to do is think about taking that first small step. At that point, all you have to do is think about taking that next small step.
And by the way, if you haven’t figured this out now, this motivation strategy works for anything you want to get yourself to do that you don’t want to do. For example, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, organising for your taxes. Break it down into small steps where you hear yourself say, “Yeah. I can do that.”
A client of mine had a C-pap machine which is something that you wear so that you can sleep through the night if you have sleep apnoea. It keeps you breathing throughout the night. And she just couldn’t bring herself to use it. And so her baby step was opening the box. That’s all it was. Just open the box. Next baby step: take out the manual. Next baby step: take the machine out of the box. And so on, until very shortly thereafter she was sleeping well, breathing throughout the night. And interestingly enough, she’s actually a hypnotherapist who’s now reaching out to help other C-pap users overcome their fear anxiety of using the machine. So it’s actually turning into a business opportunity for her which is one of those great, magical added bonuses that I love so much.
Okay, now that you’ve broken down what it takes to get going into little tiny baby steps, putting into your calendar, whatever it is. Now we’re going to think about the payoff. So think about the payoff. And as you think about it, the payoff is how great you will feel afterwards. We’re talking about the short-term payoff because that’s what’s going to get you going. You think about, “Man. I’ve going to feel so great afterwards. I’m going to feel clean, detoxified. I’m going to feel refreshed. I’ll take that shower. It’ll just be great!” And you’re going to think about that. And as you think about it, you can add of course that you’ll be that much fitter and that much toner. You can add that there too if you like. But really, I want you to focus on that great feeling afterwards. And if there’s a great feeling during, fantastic. Add that in too. If not, forget about it. Just think about the great way, how virtuous you will feel, how refreshed. How it’ll feel great to have that blood flowing in your body. How positive thoughts will be so much easier and more accessible, snowing down on you throughout the day.
Now take that feeling and make it closer. Bigger, brighter, more colorful, more compelling, lighter, sparkly. Imagine there’s a volume dial and you can just turn up the enjoyment of this feeling. See yourself enjoying this great feeling. Ah, it’s so wonderful. You can even imagine how it spreads. The ripple effects spread throughout your day, as you are more easily able to focus, for example. You sleep more soundly at night. You spread positive energy through your positive thoughts and feelings to those around you. It feels so good when you think about that one tiny small first step and this great feeling, this great bonus. And you can imagine always thinking about it in this way. You can imagine the next time that you think about a work out, you think about just that first tiny step. And then you think about, immediately, the wonderful payoff. In fact, maybe you think about the wonderful payoff and then you think about that first little tiny teeny step that you take. Payoff, tiny step. Payoff tiny step.
I do want to hear on the blog at personallifemedia.com how you are getting yourself moving. And of course, we have more to come in the series of Easy Exercise Motivation.
That brings us to the end of our show today. Thank you for being present.
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This is your host, Rene Stephens and I am on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet, enabling you to share your soul’s gifts. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.